How Do You Handle It When You Mess Up?

Let’s face it, we all mess up and drop the ball sometimes. No individual or business is perfect. At Ridgecrest, our staff works very hard to provide an environment conducive to life change, but we still make mistakes. Mistakes are going to happen so here’s the real question. How do you handle things when you mess up?

I recently had lunch with my family at one of our favorite places, Sam’s Sports Grill at The Streets of Indian Lake. Their hamburgers are awesome and I always look forward to having one.

Unfortunately, on this day, the burger was not so good. Without going into the whole story, suffice it to say there was a problem. The kitchen tried to fix it and only made it worse. Finally I politely told our server it simply wasn’t a good experience.

From there she turned it over to her manager (good training) and he did a great job handling the situation. In fact, here are 3 things he did right that anyone should do when they mess up.

  1. Own the problem – Being an old food guy, I knew they were having problems in the kitchen and appeared to be short-staffed. When the manager came over to apologize, he shared that it was his fault they were short-staffed. I have no idea if he was the one who actually made out the work schedule for that day, but he took full responsibility for not having enough help in the kitchen.
  2. Take action to fix the problem – After apologizing, he offered to bring me a fresh burger or anything else I wanted. He also let me know he was going to take the burger off my bill. I felt that was fair, so I was satisfied with the outcome at that point.
  3. Help me to forget about the problem – A couple of minutes later he came back by our table to let me know he appreciated our business and the way I had handled my complaint. He then hit me with his WOW factor, a $10 gift card to use on our next visit. Totally unexpected and definitely appreciated. As a result of this simple, low cost gesture, I walked out of the restaurant thinking about when I could come back to use the gift card, not the problem we had just encountered.

Problems are going to happen with your conference or event. The mistakes may or may not be your fault, but when they happen, do you ignore them or make excuses and pass the buck? Or, do you own it, fix it and overcome it? The choice is yours and people are watching to see what you do.

What do you do when you mess up?